09/13/17 — Seymour Johnson Air Force Base selected to house fleet of new KC-46A Pegasus tankers

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Seymour Johnson Air Force Base selected to house fleet of new KC-46A Pegasus tankers

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on September 13, 2017 12:59 PM

Goldsboro Mayor Chuck Allen confirmed this morning that Seymour Johnson Air Force Base has been selected as the nation's first Air Force reserve site to house the military's fleet of new KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling planes.

Allen received a call late Tuesday from 4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Christopher Sage, following an announcement made by the secretary of the Air Force to Congress.

"It is some great news," Allen said. "Anything that we can do to make this base stronger, better and more secure is better for our future. They'll spend millions of dollars on this."

The base will be the site of a reserve squadron for 12 state-of-the-art KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft, which could be on the ground in 2019.

Basing the aircraft at Seymour Johnson AFB will lead to a $26.4 million investment, including construction of a new hangar, and 53 additional full-time, on-base personnel.

"We are very excited," said Wayne County Commission Chairman Bill Pate. "This is a great thing for Wayne County, Goldsboro, and all of eastern North Carolina.

"Seymour Johnson AFB has a huge economic impact on a great portion of our region, so when they grow, we grow."

The KC-46A Pegasus tanker will replace the Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, which have served as the primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years.

The newer-model tankers will provide improved capabilities, worldwide navigation and communication, cargo capacity on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection and survivability and multi-point air refueling capability.

Allen said the base location was a coordinated effort that included across-the-board commitment from different sectors of the community and the base.

"I would like to thank everybody," Allen said. "A lot of people worked hard to make this happen.

"More importantly, I'd like to thank the men and women of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for the awesome job they do every day, not only to protect our nation but what they do on the local level to make Seymour Johnson Air Force Base the great base that it is.  

"They're a large part of us getting the planes."

The announcement comes just days before the 75th anniversary celebration of Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro.

"I really appreciate the timing of it," Allen said. "The timing of it this weekend is the 75th anniversary of the base here, so the timing is perfect."

Jennifer Miller, deputy assistant secretary of Air Force Installations, signed a record of decision on Sept. 8 confirming the beddown up to 12 KC-46A primary aerospace vehicles at Seymour Johnson AFB.

The base was selected based on operational analysis, results of site surveys, environmental assessments and input from the public, government agencies and the military.

Primary drivers of the decision included the base's lower costs and highly successful existing active-duty association, which will lead to the lowest active-duty manpower required to stand up the KC-46A unit, according to the record of decision.